I need help with leads!

This topic contains 9 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by GHFrider GHFrider 4 years, 7 months ago.

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  • equusparvus Original Poster equusparvus
    Topics Started: 14Replies Posted: 12

    The horse I ride has a TON of trouble landing leads, and is perfectly happy counter cantering or cross countering around the arena. He also will almost never give me a lead change. I am entering my first tiny (stress the tiny) schooling show on him next month, and my trainer is putting me in the 2’3 hunter division. I wouldn’t be worried at all, except for his leads. I have tried figure eights over poles, opening reins, bending in midair, and he still can’t land his leads. I also have a ton of trouble seeing or feeling my leads on him, which is a problem I have never had before. Any tips? Could we just do a simple change after every jump at the show?

    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 8

    is it trouble with both leads or one in particular? if it’s one lead in particular, i would work him more in that direction to get him more balanced. horses are “right-handed” and “left-handed” just like humans, and most of them have a bad direction that needs more work.

    wyoenglishrider wyoenglishrider
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 101

    I think because it is a schooling show, you should be ok doing simple lead changes when necessary. That is the point of a schooling show, after all. Keep working on it-it sounds like you have some good tools in place.

    analise analise
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 10

    I have the same problem with feeling leads on my horse. I have to really work at it to tell which one he’s on, even if we’re making a turn and he’s on the wrong lead. He just…most of the time, manages to do it so well-balanced that it doesn’t feel ‘wrong’!

    Uh, anyway. It could be a fitness thing like mentioned above. Does he tend to use the same lead all the time no matter which way he’s going or does it get switched up? Does he do it on the longe line?

    For a schooling show though, I agree with wyoenglishrider…just use simple changes and don’t stress too much about landing on the correct lead because otherwise it sounds like you’re doing everything at home you possibly can to help him figure it out. Heck, maybe putting him in a new environment will help.

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 21

    Need more info. Is the horse worse on one lead? Will he pick up both leads easily on the flat. It could very easily be a training issue. If the horse is too far on his forehand he will never be able to successfully get his leads.

    It could also be an issue with hind end fitness. Hill work is your answer there.

    It could also be a soundness issue, but assuming the horse is fine with simple changes and shows no other issues, I would assume it is a training or fitness issue.

    Sundance Acres
    home to 6 overly spoiled, fat, shiny, adorable horses, and 4 cute barn kitties

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 3

    Before a horse can change his lead, he must balance himself. Don’t try to chase the lead; balance your horse onto his hind end and make sure he is relaxed and going at a small to medium canter before you ask for the lead change. Also make sure that when you ask for a lead change, you keep your aids clear and simple – don’t overdo it. Sometimes if the rider uses excessive aids it can confuse and upset the horse, so try giving your horse a chance to change his lead on his own. Do a large figure eight and see if the horse can do it by himself without you asking. Simply sit quietly and see if your horse will do it automatically (many well-trained ones will). Ask your trainer or an experienced friend for more help if needed. Good luck!

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 4

    It sounds like a training issue, but a little more information would be nice.

    The above comments are right. It could be a soundness issue or a balance issue.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    My horse cross fired and counter cantered all the time when I started working her. I lunged her for 3 months until she consistently took the correct lead at a canter. If she took the wrong lead or cross fired I would immediately drop her back to trot then canter again until she got it right. Sometimes in the beginning it would take 4 or 5 tries, you just have to insist that they keep dropping down and trying again. On a lunge line you can make the circle smaller so horse is forced to take correct lead to balance.

    20SecondsOfInsaneCourage 20SecondsOfInsaneCourage
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    You would probably be okay doing simple changes. But for practice, (this is how I’m teaching my horse and it seems to work pretty well), if you have a large enough arena, start him straight down the middle on one lead, when you get half way down the length of the arena, slow him to a trot for a step or two and the ask him to pick up the other lead.

    There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you have to do is turn around and say, "Watch me."

    GHFrider GHFrider
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 32

    I would have a vet check done before I tried any retraining. Arthritis, bone spurs, bone chips…even in young horses, they can cause the same problem. And just a thought, but make sure he doesn’t have a bean in the channel for his urinary tract! It’s a frequently overlooked source of pain for a gelding. A friend was shocked when the pony she’d been riding for years refused to pick up the lead in one direction and started bucking to boot. She had the vet out. She’d never learned about sheath cleaning and had the horse for 8 years before she found out that there could be such a problem. There was a bean the size of a butter bean and hard as a rock, and the horse was immediately much improved after its removal. Seriously. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve got a gelding that forms beans regularly despite being cleaned after every ride, and the change in his movement is noticeable. I had to have the vet do the job once when the problem became more than I could fix, and again, the change was noticeable immediately.

    Horses In the Yard

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